The state of Illinois provides several veteran benefits. This section offers a brief description of each of the following benefits.
- Housing Benefits
- Financial Assistance Benefits
- Employment Benefits
- Education Benefits
- Other State Veteran Benefits
Illinois Veteran Housing ProgramsGI Loan for Heroes
The G-I Loan for Heroes is the new Illinois Homeownership Program for Veterans and Active Service Personnel. The G-I Loan offers significantly below market homeownership financing and counseling. There are two program packages, one for Veterans and one for active duty personnel.
Veterans' Program: The Veterans' Program is designed for honorably discharged Veterans who qualify under the income and purchase price limits of the IHDA MRB Program. Participants will receive a substantially below market rate financing package, closing cost assistance and homeownership counseling. In addition, under federal legislation passed in December 2006, Veterans do not have to be first-time homebuyers to qualify.
Active Duty Program: The Active Duty program is designed for active duty service personnel in the Armed Services and Reserve Forces. Under this program, they will receive the same package as the Veterans, except they must qualify as a first time homebuyer under the IHDA MRB Program.
Learn more about the GI Loan for Heroes
Specially Adapted Housing
Assistance is provided for service-connected disabled veterans for the purpose of acquiring or remodeling suitable dwelling units with special fixtures or moveable facilities made necessary by the veteran's permanent and total service-connected disabilities.
Learn more about Specially Adapted Housing
Illinois Financial Assistance BenefitsWorld War II Bonus Payment
A bonus of $10 per month for domestic service and $15 per month for foreign service is payable to a veteran who was a resident of Illinois at time of entering service, served at least 60 days on active duty between September 16, 1940 and September 3, 1945, and received an honorable discharge. Survivors are entitled to a benefit of $1,000, if the veteran's death was service-connected and within the period specified.
Learn more about the World War II Bonus Payment
Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Conflict Bonus
A $100 bonus is payable for service during one of the following periods:
Korea - June 27, 1950 - July 27, 1953
Vietnam - January 1, 1961 - March 28, 1973
Vietnam Frequent Wind - April 29, 30, 1975
Persian Gulf - August 2, 1990 - November 30, 1995
The claimant must also be in receipt of one of the following medals: Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Era or the Southwest Asia Service Medal; and have been a resident of Illinois for 12 months immediately prior to entering service and have received an Honorable Discharge. (Individuals currently on active duty who served in the Persian Gulf may apply prior to discharge by also including the "Armed Forces Certificate".)
Learn more about the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Conflict Bonus
Vietnam Veteran Survivors CompensationSurvivors are entitled to a payment of $1,000 if veteran's death is service-connected or is the direct result of service-connected disabilities incurred in the period specified. A separate application is required.
Learn more about Vietnam Veteran Survivors Compensation
Persons on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States or employed by the United States Government on, or after, January 1, 1961, who were residents of Illinois 12 months prior to entry, and who were taken and held prisoner by hostile forces in Southwest Asia, are entitled to $50 for each month or portion thereof while being held captive.
Learn more about POW Compensation
Global War on Terrorism Survivors' Compensation
A $3,000 bonus is payable to survivors of certain persons killed by terrorist acts or hostile activities during performance of military service in periods recognized as wartime by United States campaign or service medals. Residency of 1 year in Illinois prior to entering military service is required.
Learn more about Survivors' Compensation
This exemption is allowed on the assessed value of real property for which federal funds have been used for the purchase or construction of specially adapted housing for as long as the veteran, or the spouse, or unmarried surviving spouse resides on the property. The 2007 homestead legislation created two new exemptions for Veterans that take effect for the 2007 tax year:
The Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption provides qualifying Veterans a one-time $5,000 reduction to their home’s equalized assessed value (EAV). Qualifying Veterans who return from active duty in an armed conflict involving the U.S. armed forces can file an application upon their return home to receive this exemption.
The new Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption provides a reduction in a property’s EAV to a qualifying property owned by a Veteran with a service-connected disability certified by the U. S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. A $2,500 homestead exemption is available to a Veteran with a service-connected disability of at least 50% but less than 75% or a $5,000 homestead exemption is available to a veteran with a service connected disability of at least 75%. A disabled Veteran must file an annual application by the county’s due date to continue to receive this exemption.
Learn more about Tax Exemption
Tax Exemption for Mobile Home
This exemption applies to the tax imposed by the Mobile Home Local Services Tax Act when that property is owned and used exclusively by a disabled veteran, spouse or unmarried surviving spouse as a home. The veteran must have received authorization of the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the USDVA, whether benefit was used or not. Applicant must be a permanent resident of the State of Illinois on January 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is being claimed. Disabled veterans that now live in a mobile home and never received the Specially Adapted Housing Grant are not eligible. Please contact your local service office for more information.
Learn more about Tax Exemption for Mobile Homes
Illinois Employment BenefitsState Government/Employment PreferencePreference is given in Central Management Services entrance examinations to honorably discharged veterans who served in times of hostilities and peacetime. The Department of Central Management Services also conducts a Veterans Outreach Program that provides professional counseling to Veterans seeking state employment with the 45 boards, agencies, and commissions under the Governor's jurisdiction. Interested Veterans may learn more about the program or to begin the process of state employment by calling 1-800-643-8138.
Learn more about State Government/Employment Preference
Jobs for Vets
The Department of Employment Security/Illinois Job Service provides a trained "Veterans Representative" to help you get the training and job you need. An electronic statewide job search information system is available at different locations throughout the State of Illinois. Veterans should call 1-888-FOR-IETC to find their nearest Representative.
The Department of Human Services provides services for veterans with mental/physical disabilities that assist them in returning to gainful employment.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs have a number of Small Business Administration loan and Job Training Programs.
Learn more about Jobs for Vets
Illinois Education BenefitsEducational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)
Financial aid is provided annually to each child between the ages of 10 and 18 years of a veteran who died or became totally disabled as a result of service in the Armed Forces during World War I, or II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts or beginning February 1, 1955, until such individuals are no longer eligible for induction under the Universal Military Training and Service Act. The financial aid applies to a state educational institution of elementary grade, high school or vocational training school.
Learn more about Educational Opportunities for Children
Dependents of a veteran who has been declared by the Department of Defense or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be a prisoner of war; missing-in-action; to have died as the result of a service-connected disability; or be permanently disabled from service-connected causes with 100% disability; and, who was an Illinois resident or was an Illinois resident within six months of entering service may be eligible for the scholarship. Eligible dependents are entitled to full payment of tuition and certain fees to any state supported Illinois institution of higher learning consisting of the equivalent of four (4) calendar years of full-time enrollment including summer terms (i.e., 120 points).
Learn more about the MIA/POW Scholarship
State Approving Agency
Approves training for veterans in the areas of higher education, apprenticeship training, vocational training, and on the job training.
Learn more about the State Approving Agency
The Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) Program pays tuition and certain fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for Illinois residents. An individual must:
- be an honorably discharged veteran; and
- reside in Illinois six months before entering the service; and
- have at least one full year of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces which includes veterans who were assigned to active duty in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, regardless of length of service; and
- return to Illinois within six months of discharge from the service.
Illinois National Guard Scholarship
Any enlisted person or Lieutenant or Captain with at least one year service in the Illinois Army/Air National Guard may participate. Available for eight semesters or twelve quarters of full-time or part-time undergraduate study or graduate study at any Illinois state-controlled university or community college. Recipient is entitled to payment of tuition and certain fees.
Learn more about the Illinois National Guard Scholarship
Children of Veterans Scholarship
Each county in the state shall be entitled, annually, to one honorary scholarship at the University of Illinois, for the benefit of children of veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict and any time on or after August 2, 1990 and until those persons in service are no longer eligible for the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Preference is given to the children of deceased and disabled veterans. Such children shall be entitled to receive, without charge for tuition, instruction in any or all departments of the University for a term of at least four (4) consecutive years. Details may be obtained from the University's Financial Aid Office.
Learn more about the Children of Veterans Scholarship
Other Illinois State Veteran BenefitsCartage and Erection Fees
When the federal government has furnished a headstone or marker, the ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS shall pay up to the allowable reimbursement amount for the setting of such marker within Illinois. Currently, the maximum amount is $100.00 payable upon approval of the application.
Learn more about Cartage and Erection Fees
The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs shall maintain a card file Roll of Honor of all veterans buried in the State of Illinois. Every person, firm or corporation owning or controlling any cemetery or burial place in this State is required to keep a permanent record of the burial of each U.S. war veteran or memorial marker erected for this purpose.
Learn more about Graves Registration
The county Veterans Assistance Commission shall provide burial for any honorably discharged indigent veteran, or their mothers, fathers, spouse or surviving spouse, or minor children without sufficient means to defray the funeral expenses. The expense of such burial shall not exceed the sum of $600. Emergency food, transportation, etc. are provided in certain cases. Please contact your local county Veterans Assistance Commission for more information.
Learn more about Indigent Veterans
Camping & Admission Fees
This benefit provides for the exemption of camping and admission fees for certain disabled persons and former prisoners of war who are Illinois residents and wish to camp in parks under the control of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Documentation is required.
Learn more about Camping & Admission Fees
Hunting and Fishing Privileges
Fishing and hunting licenses are not required for disabled veterans receiving 10% or greater service-connected compensation, or total disability pension benefits. To acquire a permit, contact your local Veterans Service office.
Learn more about Hunting and Fishing Privileges
Honorably discharged veterans of all ages and their families shall be admitted FREE, when they properly identify themselves, on Veterans' Day at the fair. Veterans Day includes a day-long program of drum corps, drill teams, and color guard competition. Admission is FREE to people 60 and older on Senior Day.
Learn more about State Fair Privileges
Necessary Documents to File Claims
Certificate of Discharge DD 214, death certificate, marriage license, insurance policies and in some cases medical documentation.
Learn more about Necessary Documents to File Claims